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Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) is a test of your muscles and nerves. It usually has two parts. One is a nerve conduction study. This measures how well electricity moves through your nerves. The second part is a needle electromyogram. It records the electrical signals your muscles make when you move them. The results can help your doctor find problems linked to certain disorders or conditions.

 


WHAT TO EXPECT:

Once arriving for your NCS or EMG, you will be asked to change into a gown and lie down on an exam table.

  • NCS- To perform this test, a technologist will attach two patch-like electrodes on your skin over the selected nerve with  a  special paste. One electrode will stimulate the nerve with a mild impulse, while the other records the electrical activity.  You will experience  a small tingling sensation, much like your foot falling asleep. The stimulation of the nerve and the detected response will be displayed on a monitor for the neurologist to interpret.
  • EMG- Your neurologist will clean the area to be tested with an alcohol pad. A fine needle will be inserted through the skin into the selected muscle. While there will be some discomfort associated with this test, try to relax. You may be asked to tighten (contract) the muscle slowly and steadily. The physician will determine if the muscle is working normally by evaluating activity seen and heard on the EMG monitor that is connected to the electrode by wires.

When NCS and EMG exams are performed together, the entire series of tests normally takes 40-60 minutes to complete.

BEFORE YOUR EXAM:

Your physician may instruct you to stop taking certain medications, including warfarin and aspirin.

  • Refrain from consuming caffeine or alcohol.
  • Shower or bathe, but DO NOT use any powder, lotion, or oil on your skin.

AFTER YOUR EXAM:

 After your EMG, the places where a needle was inserted into the skin are cleaned You may be sore and feel a tingling in your muscles that may last for up  to 2 days. Wrap  ice or cold pack with a thin towel and place on top of the sore area  for 10-20 minutes as needed. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse, or if you experience swelling or tenderness at the needle site.

After an NCS, you will be free to resume normal activities. You should not experience any pain, as the electrical pulses are too low to cause injury.

The neurologist who conducted your exam may be able to communicate some of the results of your EMG or NCS during or immediately after the exam, but a full report may take 2-3 days. You will be instructed on how to schedule a follow-up visit by your neurologist or a nurse.